tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 18, 2014 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
office. i wanted to ask a question about -- i used to work in the pentagon dealing with a lot of military competition issues and one of the things and concerns i think its u.s. service members being forced out by the initiatives and event you also have other folks offered more money to go back and see and other things like that and some of the policies that have come out of that have been a little conflicting kind of sending a mixed signal. i know professor coming you mentioned about cutting the right flavor to get that force structure and death right mix of people. what do you think -- this is a question for the whole panel what do you think would be a more balanced approach to try to either get that right mix of people and also being able to offer the right level of competition for the people.
>> i think if we are continuing to have an all volunteer force we have to recognize the fact that we have a contract. this is a contract to a relationship with individuals in which we promised them certain things which include a stream of compensation, benefits, va disability benefits, there's a whole contract here and somehow this sort of mentality hasn't really grasped the fact that that's what it is. obviously i'm an expert in the accounting system so i see it from that perspective but, you know my sense is that the -- end of this kind of goes to a lot of things that have been said today if i've answered your question right. there is a series of contracts that we make throughout the system with the va, social security and other departments into certainly the military
compensation system which has to be read evaluated and thought out. and you will need to be able to rely on demand at the same kind of pentagon needs to have a stream of funding which is into volatile. one of the problems that would go into the reserved force, for example this is very volatile funding of the pentagon because activating the reserv reserves e guard as we did during the peak years in iraq were almost 50% of the force and an incredibly expensive way to deploy forces. you have to pay people instead of for one weekend a month you are paying them full-time plus a whole range of extra pay and these are typically people that are older and have families with a range of benefits which was one of the things that led to the sort of culture of endless money because it was being thrown at it to deal with this.
i guess from an outside perspective one at it and you see the group here a fair amount of agreement. you see a lot of agreement on the issues and the key things to address and yet somehow the congress doesn't seem able to churn out the legislation which captures a part of these areas of agreement. >> i hate to be the one to cut the panel shorts i want to take a brief moment and thank all of you for coming and this panel led by andrew such a great group to get together with your counterparts in the audience and my director counsel from those of the appropriations and the authorizing committees i want to thank the staff of the bipartisan policy center who did the work and all of you for these incredible insights i wish we had another hour.
thank you everyone for coming and we will stick around for questions. >> now we take you live to the u.s. institute of peace in washington, d.c. for a conversation on the legacy of african president hamid karzai who leaves office in august. this program is now underway. >> it's too premature to speak about his legacy. after all yesterday we began an audit of these 8 million votes according to the deal that secretary kerry brokered last week. it will be a complicated audit and i wouldn't be surprised having gone through something similar myself with the ambassador and it may be longer than expected. and i imagine that to a certain degree question that we are going to talk about today cannot
president karzai's legacy will also be affected by how this election comes to an end. nonetheless i think we all still have a great deal to say. president karzai has been leaving afghanistan one way or another the last 13 years since december, 2001. and we thought it was an appropriate moment while the election is being worked out to take stock of what has been accomplished in that time. and by that i need not only the state of the country they leave for the next president, but also certain habits of governing that he has adopted it has become the model to a certain extent. was this the only way of governing. in the u.s. they would have a
particular effect after afghanistan's development and progress in the five to ten years if not longer. the other tricky thing about the topic is that it is karzai's legacy not only himself but i have a feeling it will be difficult in the discussion to separate the man from the lega legacy. in my own thinking it seems to me from the point of view of the u.s. foreign policy and not of the international community in general, it's been difficult to have an afghanistan policy and we have often had a policy towards president karzai which means the tools and the terms in which we discussed this policy have been more sort of psychological almost than diplomatic. what is president karzai thinking and how can we convince them to do this or that. has president karzai lost his mind? and it is a testament i think in part to the fact that obviously constitutionally the president
has immense powers which means that he is obviously the most important person in the country but it's also a testament to the sort of almost shakespearean complexity of his leadership and his personality. so, with that of panelists are here and neither to praise or bury him but to give an accurate assessment of the country that he's leaving behind come up with the challenges were, what he has achieved, what he might achieve and how really end during -- end during his dislike is he. how has the afghanistan that he has created in the last 13 years become a permanent part of afghanistan's dna or whether there will be aspects that can be changed by the next administration whoever will emerge from this account. so it is a complex topic that we have an excellent panel for it.
he's a young afghan journalist who just published two excellent articles on president karzai and putting one in the olympics that introduces the topic of his legacy which is -- i have it here. the men who ran afghanistan which if you have not read it it is definitely worth reading. general allen who was a commander of nato and isaf forces a crucial time during the transition to the afghan lead for the combat operations in afghanistan and has dealt closely with president karzai across the spectrum of issues relating to that military relationship and inevitably in the political relationship. finally, ambassador kai eide who was therwas there a there if y e
secretary-general between 2008 and 2010. and while i will try to be n. and partial -- and impartial moderator i also worked with kai during the period. that doesn't mean that i will not challenge him on some of the points that he may raise. i will ask the panelists to speak in the following order. kai, general allen to speak for about ten or 15 minutes and i may have a few reactions and then we will open up to you for questions. with that, kai, i will hand the floor over to you. >> thank you very much for organizing this. there have been many events over the years and i've always enjoyed them very, very much. i worked with him and let me go
back to when i talked to him in may of this year. one is looking back at 2002 when they just finished the authorities and they said that it was a euphoric atmosphere and i believe the community will come in and help clean up the house. and then hand it over in good shape. that was his thinking at the time and then he says about the thinking 13 years later i see afghanistan as a two-story house where they do not interfere with the owner and how he organizes the house. the tenant is welcome to stay,
but the owner has to organize the house and sometimes the international community has treated some that is a dramatic statement and then you wonder what has happened in between this euphoric statement of 2012 and the bitterness that comes through in 2014. today karzai is seen as critical in the united stateto the unitei believe that is unfair. i do not think that it is critical circumstances that have been undertaken research and policies have been pursued. but not for the u.s. and i will come back to that. now why did we come to treating
the way we did? in my view because of a profound misunderstanding of the afghan society and in the box it is also astonishing as we learned nothing about the afghan society and also a misunderstanding of karzai as an afghan leader because when you meet him it isn't like the other traditional afghan leaders but nor is it like the leaders that have spent decades abroad to receive their education etc.. he is there and it's easy to think here is a western oriented leader dressed in afghan clothes and it's far from the truth. president karzai is afghan to the core. he is an afghan political leader
and he lives in two worlds at the same time. he lives in the old afghan political context with his culture and traditions into the new institution established after the fall of the telegram. -- talbo tally taliban. that is the world in which he grew up. and we tend to not understand that unfortunately. in discussing his legacy with an intact in may i ask him how to use your legacy and he didn't want to respond. he pushed the question back to me and said how do you see my legacy? i sent mr. president, first of all, i see you as a
conscientious builder and yes i very much wanted to be the builder and i sai said but that isn't the easiest way of bringing the country from a to b.. he said how do you define democracy? and my answer was democracy is rule by majority. no, that is impossible in this country. in this country democracy must mean rule by consensus. if you will buy a majority of the country will cause conflict and fragmentation. i think that he is quite right and i must say there is no other afghan leader that i have met that understands his society and its complexity more than he do does.
and even when i was there in 2010 and later, afghan leaders who spent much o spend much of e abroad came and said to me now he understood the situation much better. he understood the reactions in the community etc. much better than we did. and i remember so well the one prominent minister that troubled with the president to the south and then said it now i am in the real afghanistan. what did it mean to me? he was a person that spent much of his time abroad in afghanistan. and he describes how he meets with the elders and discuss so
many things i remember myself leaving the meeting and thinking what is this about and it was about showing a respect, enabling the leaders to go back to the communities and say the president showed us respect. in that sense he is a master politician and so then the consensus was tremendously important in keeping the country together. and reformer and i must say from 2002 to 2014, the country has been through a true industry information. sometimes we overdo it a little bit and we become a little propaganda in the way that we
use the figures and so on. but there has been tremendous progress and you cannot say that the men that presided over this is not a part of that process. he is. and i think that since we have more we've asked him about this in the media for instance. you are today in afghanistan and the situation in the media society is more vibrant, nor ever bee more open and questione being discussed over and over again than in any other country in the region. any other country in the wider region. ira member one conference where they raised the hand and aske td a very provocative question about corruption. that wouldn't have happened two
years ago. there is an important change. he is also the reform. did he manage to become the peacemaker? unfortunately not in spite of all of these efforts and then we come to what you mentioned about the elections but i must say so far all of the rumors that we heard he wanted to change the constitution. he wanted to put in the week president so he could return and create a chaotic situation so that we could declare a state of emergency but nothing of that has happened. i believe he is a person that it intends to leave in the process and let's hope it continues in peace.
just one more minute if i may. there is a tendency to see him as anti-u.s.. and i will tell you one story in the 2009 just before the ni generatioduration of the presidr the second term i gave a press conference and i criticized the warlords and i criticized by corruption and i said i believe that the future structure of the region in afghanistan goes back to some sort of state and karzai became very angry and reacted. most of the media believed it was because i said about the warlords and corruption, not at
all. he heard that before i knew and i tried to prevent him from the vice president. i had cast upon the most fundamental aspect of the status and future. it is the status. and he called me up to his office and said i don't want this to be a neutral country. i want this country to be a close bond nato u.s. ally and he repeated that in his inauguration speech a few weeks later. what did it mean? in spite of the humiliation that he had gone through during the obama administration and
confirmed by bob gates and his group, in spite of feeling that he was objective and he was not consulted its about that relationship that is critical. his second term became one long effort at restoring and ivy league team was right because sovereignty and respect for a country's sovereignty is for the return to normalcy. i think he is also the nature and itofthis effort in trying te the sovereignty and we need to choose if they would follow that course or if they will find another but i do the leave that
he has the framework for moving forward on soli the solid grouno in that respect i do see president karzai as a historical theater and we managed to keep the country together and to preside over a period of reform and who then greatly insisted on respect for his country and albeit the poor war-torn country. thank you. >> thanks very much for the invitation to be here this morning. it's always great to be at usip. import into any gathering like this would be probably at the beginning to take a moment to talk about why this gathering is
important. this isn't just about karzai per se in many respects. it is i believe the role of an institution like this to talk about how we can learn from this kind of gathering and the challenges that the leaders like president karzai are not only facing today that his successor will face similar to the situation that we find in afghanistan and i think it's also important another outcome in a session like this for us to hold up a mirror up and look into it both as a people and as a country and decide whether we can stand in the reflection that we see. and then finally come a gathering like this ought to help us inform the policy process of the united states in particular for not just the curb
and relationship in afghanistan and other states in the contemporary situations like this but the policy process for the future. in that regard, thanks very much for convening this group and usip for putting this on. let me start by saying i do leave the legacy will be kinder than the contemporary opinions expressed routinely about him today. all of us on the panel were selected to comment or two offer our perspectives on what i believe to be an extraordinarily important individual and a very complex man. with that in mind, we are going to agree on some issues and to disagree on others. but i don't think that means any of us on all of us are wrong because when one regards hamid karzai and his tie and send the complexity of the environment
which he has had to operate in the challenges that he has had to face defies a simple distillation. on the man or the circumstances. so i took my role on the panel to be one of providing the perspective of a military commander on president karzai and i remember well our worrying about my first meeting with him. we spent a little time actually preparing for that meeting. it would define our relationship in many respects in the follow on what had been considered to be a strained relationship with genital petraeus. it was made july of 2011 and i was the fourth isaf commander in the three years president karzai was going to have to deal with and in and of itself, that was a source of self-inflicted friction on the allied and the
western side. it turned out the meeting was a pretty friendly meeting and it was an opportunity for us to establish what i believe to this day is a friendship. i pledged him my support and my full energy in our part or shape for the future. but not surprisingly afterwards i was amused and alarmed at the palace press release of the first meeting and the many things that i had conceded to him in the meeting that would have taken a couple of days that we were able to get some work done and it established a standard i think for a good relationship in the future and when i called my good friend of the u.s. ambassador ryan crocker to point out what i thought was a process on this first meeting in the press release committee just laughed and welcomed me to
afghanistan. [laughter] >> so, this began a relationship that would stand by 18 months of command where i would see them m once a week and offer frequently and i saw to make this relationship something more than casual and i saw to make this relationship productive but i also considered the relationship of friendship because he is a very charming and charismatic individual and he is extraordinarily well bred. he once loved one of his books have said can you give me your thoughts on it and a month later they take a while to get books read that a month later he asked me where his book was and i brought him his book and a copy for me which i asked him to inscribe and we had a wonderful conversation on the anglo afghan war. he knew i was far better than we
understood and the ancient culture of the pashtuns and the tribes and the ethnicities in afghanistan. and this we were in a distinct disadvantage and put differently he was at a distinct advantage in his relationship and i often told people that you could make a fundamental error in your relationship with president karzai by assuming that he is a westphalian president in the context of a european leader. he is in fact a tribal leader and of the elite of the tribes and as kai properly said many of those hardwired paradigms were the first lens through which he would if you were the challenges that we faced in the crisis that we would ultimately have to solve. and none of that is wrong and it shouldn't be alarming and it
shouldn't necessarily be surprising. it came from the inherent responsibility that we all have to understand the environment in which we were operating as military professionals and ultimately to understand the inherent nature of this leader. he was happiest when he was relating the details of the history and he wasn't just a nationalist and accents but he was a patriot in that regard. sometimes he would be seemingly rambling from one topic to another and i would sit there wondering where all of this is going. but invariably, you bring it all back to the present and he would tie it all together very skillfully to address whatever issue with crisis we faced and would then use the very clear vehicle of afghan history to make the imperative or to make the point that we needed to solve the problems that we were facing today.
let me take you through a few of the challenges we face together because i think it helps to define how he and i felt on a day-to-day basis on our interaction. and i will go through these quickly that we can certainly connect to them icome back to te question and answer sessions on any one in particular because each one of these was a substantial left in our relationship. the first was a negotiation of a strategic partnership agreement about ryan crocker and i sat at the table shoulder to shoulder for most of the negotiating session we dealt very closely on this issue and of course as you know, it is a direct result of the spa we ultimately had to go into the negotiating of the bilateral security agreement as well and in conjunction with the negotiation of the partnership agreement, the strategic agreement he convened a loya jirga and this goes to the important point about the nature of hamid karzai as a leader in d
a white politician. and he was masterful in managing and manipulating informal networks. when i say manipulating that is by no means intended in a pejorative manner. he understood the people in afghanistan. he may not have been up there necessarily but he certainly understood them and he worked very well in those networks as a tribal leader would to seek this consensus that i think kai talked about was his intention. he was enormously frustrated with the u.s. over the policy towards pakistan and he was convinced we were fighting the war in the wrong place. this flowed through a number of themes that we dealt with on a regular basis, some of which were frankly quite painful and that was the issue of the civilian casualties, frustration over the pakistani safe havens,
the haqqani network and the cross-border fires in 2012 in early 2013 in kunar part of which was a mess and part of which was a reality. we also dealt very closely on the issues of detentions. this goes again to this issue of president karzai seeking to establish and reinforce the sense that afghanistan was a sovereign country and to rest from the united states and other countries the kind of respect that is due to that country into due to its people. and as it is negotiated at the contentious m. o u. for my turning over the several thousand afghan detainees to afghanistan that process and that sense of sovereignty came home in a very real way for me. and then unfortunately when president karzai aggregated parts, i had to cease the turnover until such time i was sure that they were not going to be released ultimately to target
us or afghan citizens again. we also had a period time we worked on my operations into that resulted in a memorandum of understanding as well where we sought tsaw to move from being unilaterally engaged in the night operations to one that we partnered with the afghans to one where i committed to him and the afghan security leadership of the development of the special operations capabilities where afghanistan could eventually offer it unilaterally. without the specific u.s. or nato help. and then very clearly it was the kind of transition as scott burley said we were moving the afghan forces from being in the trail to being in the lead we were moving the forces to be advisory but very important for me i worked hard and i know stanley mcchrystal had before me and ultimately david petraeus in the succession to him on trying to understand hamid karzai's sense of ownership of the afghan
national security forces as the commander-in-chief but more importantly the ownership of the afghan security forces in the conflict that was being waged. it was never clear to me what his attitude was. then of course we dealt carefully on the issue of corruption trying to get him to work with institutional corruption and him trying to get me to spend the spending and contracting process under control and there were a number of areas like the afghan police and the elimination of the private security companies and the transitioning prt where we worked together closely but he also faced some world-class crisis that were important in defining how we worked in times of stress and crisis and i think that was an area that defined our friendship and we leveraged the friendship on a number of occasions to get to the solution or at least to keep the crisis
from spinning us off into space. first was the downing of the ch 47 with the seal strikeforce onboard in a month of my taking command. that was a moment of concern for him because he believed we were beginning to witness that moment on the battlefield that he noticed in afghanistan when the first stingers arrived in the soviet world wa war and it was a moment of concern for him and we worked out that very closely together. then shortly after that, the u.s. embassy and my headquarters was attacked by suicide bombers and that was an area that we worked very closely in the solution of under that understanding how it came about. followed almost immediately a weak leader by the assassination of the president cut ahead of the high peace council and all of the associated difficulties with that. and then the event along the pakistani border where 24 troops were tragically killed
ultimately resulting in pakistan closing my principal ground line of communication over which 80% of my supplies flowed. that was followed by the video where the u.s. marines were found to be urinating on dead, band that createthen that creatf events in kind junction with the inadvertent and sad burning of the holy ca taliban that stressd the relationship between the west in general nato and with president carbide also stressed the relationship of the coalition itself is increasingly these insider attacks were a routing the consensus of the coalition to remain committed and that was followed by the mass killing you will recall of the 16 afghans in the district
of kandahar. each of these, whether it was a challenge or a crisis permitted me to take the measure of the man and i found karzai to be a worthy partner. we didn't agree you necessarily on many of them and often the outcome isn't what many of us desired. but these were moments of that we had the opportunity to work there he closely. so against the backdrop of these many factors i think it's important to take stock of the legacy under these many strains. he has very strong opinions on the sources of production in afghanistan. he blames foreign influences in the united states in particular, but he was unable or unwilling to take the action to curb the corruption. he remembers the role in the shaping of the 2009 election
that caused a lot of animosity and antipathy towards the united states while avoiding the matter of substantial ballot box stuffing. he was enormously critical of the policy towards pakistan but did not exert every effort to reach out to improve that relationship and he would accuse the u.s. of arrogance and coffee since its trading th treating ty of something was called brinksmanship but at the same time he was confronting this we also have to keep in mind as americans -- and i heard this from david petraeus and i tested it myself many of the crises that we had could easily have been told if we had listened closely to him one or two or three years before when he raised the issue early in the process and we were either deaf
to the issue that he was raising where we under resourced the solution and didn't really solve the problem. so if she was about for example the private security companies that was an issue to him and to afghans and we didn't solve it properly he brought us to the brink and the creation of the protection force was the result of another perfect solution but it was a solution and the elimination ultimately of the provincial reconstruction teams in terms of rendering them as capacity building mechanisms rather than service provider mechanisms that compromise the ability of local governments to develop and then alternately civilian contracting and civilian casualties and corruption. if we listened earlie listen eae taken the kind of actions heebie-jeebies we should have he provided excellent advice in thathis regard and that could he
reduced friction in many respects and issues. legacies take many shapes and invariably are formed in the eyes of the beholder's. it's difficult to talk about the historical legacy and that's why the panel like this is valuable i think in terms of how we look at the future for the policy processes but i think it is fraught with dangers in terms of the potential for criticizing the president. i will leave up to the afghans and i suspect i will hear of it in a moment from a very prominent afghan journalist how they view their president but for the many afghans for whom i've dealt with and i've never asked an afghan his or her opinion of the president because i believed out of respect to the president and the afghans i didn't want to put them in that place. it doesn't mean they didn't offer their opinions.
and i always had a sense of their open but sometimes grudging respect for him. they respected hamid karzai but there was also a sense of melancholy on the absence of his presence and that of the government in their lives and i'm talking about the subnational government that we have worked so hard to try to develop, but defied my ability when i was there as a commander and we can talk about that if you like. but they were very proud of him in many ways. they were proud he stood up to the foreigners of which i was one. but recently i think with regards to the bilateral security agreement that would enshrine a presence for the foreigners many afghans were simply horrified they seem to be sacrificing their future not signing an agreement and never fully explaining why you're understanding why and i think in
some respects in the terms of a contemporary legacy we see that much ground was lost by the president in that regard. i believe pakistan will not view the era and the relationship between islamabad and kabul with much nostalgia. the views of pakistan were seldom positive and were frequently and openly expressed that made the relationship difficult to manage. i think they will not miss the president either for many reasons but i think that this goes to kai's point about president karzai's journey into personal goals of making afghanistan a sovereign entity to be reckoned with in to the iranians were ultimately to determine even with a substantial presence in kabul they had less influence over the president and over the parliament and they had hoped
and the bilateral security agreement with the foreign presence in the country which iran consistently resisted. nato i think will view him in the short term as in an appreciative partner who over time became increasingly difficult to deal with. while only the president of hamid karzai can say for sure it is unlikely that he always viewed the enormity of the 50 nation as too intrusive on the sovereignty of afghanistan and ultimately on his own authority but i think we may have missed or he may have missed the larger point that those 50 nations committed to their blood and treasure to afghanistan and tied irrevocably the international added to the future of this poor beleaguered country in ways we have probably never seen the parallel before in history. afghanistan in this poor state, the nation emerging from the conflict whose interests.
that was a true advantage to afghanistan and then there's the u.s.. his inflammatory and sometimes disrespectful rhetoric aimed at this administration, but sadly also aimed at the sacrifices of u.s. troops was compounded by this sense of his ungratefulness for the u.s. investment. again, perceptions coming into this perception ultimately attracted the congress and the administration and taken together this actually put the u.s. relationship in afghanistan in danger. when i was the commander, i did not seriously consider that there was a possible likelihood of the zero option. in essence the u.s. pulling out completely of afghanistan and taking with its nato and the
international community. but i have to tell you over the last probably six to eight months, and in particular with the rhetoric and the problems over the bilateral security agreement we came perilously close ultimately to the zero option and we so he was told they signed bilateral agreement although i expect the soon-to-be inaugurated president will do so pretty quickly. unfortunately this has tainted his short-term legacy overall and i believe it well for a considerable period in the united states but the truth is hamid karzai is a man with extraordinary abilities but with human frailties. he was placed in one of the most demanding thankless positions on the planet and force to operate in a largely incapable government emerging after a generation of conflict where he found not only difficulty in managing the national government from the palace but also in
creating the kind of subnational government necessary to extend the writ of kabul to the people. he had to coexist and operate with the largest wartime coalition in the modern era inside his country while seeking to reconcile with the taliban and foreign fighters a rebellion and ultimately to bring peace to his people. few men in my mind have ever faced larger challenges for so long and with such few measures and tools to deal with any one of them individually, much less all of them simultaneously. so yes he was flawed and yes he played fast and loose with relationships over time and he was provocative and no he was not demented and no he was not on medicine, not that i know of. but in a few weeks time when the next president of the islamic
republic is inaugurated, that's new president will lead the nation still seriously challenged with a violent insurgency that one profoundly changed for the better in the 12 plus or nearly 13 years that he has in his office in this troubled nation and in that context while today he finds himself often strongly criticized as i said at the beginning i believe a searching and a detailed analysis of his administration and the presidency and of him as a man will return a balanced appraisal of his legacy and how it was that after all of these years of conflict afghanistan could have come so far under his leadership. thank you. that is a huge amount that we will be able to engage a little bit later on. now you've put me in the position of doing something that you have never done which is to ask and ask and what he thinks
president karzai into the legacy is doing. >> thank you scott. i'm glad to be a part of this distinguished panel and i wanted to read a few passages from the article i recently wrote for the atlantic called after karzai and divisive the issue. i walked around for a half-hour this morninhalf hourthis mornina copy that i couldn't so that tells you how well i know dc. >> it's in everybody's briefcases. >> i will read a few passages and have remarks about the president domestic policy, legacy and local governments and in providing the context of the passage i will go back to one of the points the general emphasized on how difficult it is to predict a sitting president's legacy and how
challenging it is. so here is the passage. the afghanistan karzai leaves behind is a more inclusive and cohesive country than the fractured mess that he inherit inherited. educated young urbanites connected to the world and provided free space for expression is a growing sense of nostalgia. he's on the scene as a man of great personal dignity who despite his shortcomings tried to minimize the bloodshed that my generation was born into. afghanistan is shaped by principles that karzai saw as essential and nonnegotiable but because of the president's style of leadership, these appeared tenuous. under karzai a relatively free press blossomed but every time threats against it emerged they have been blunted off by the institutions were the laws that karzai put in place but by the president's personal
intervention. at the same can be said of women's participation in society which has grown tremendously with few institutional safeguards. even the future role of the country's warlords is uncertain. karzai kept most of the men off balance and he deserves credit for doing so. if these men are not gone from public life they've continued to profit from contracts and investments largely tied to the presence of foreign militaries, vested economic interest is a major factor that keeps them loyal to the democratic system. indeed in the 12 and a half years of his rule many have their images of the warlords fancier suits, more politically correct language. for better or worse, there are sons and daughters that seems more attuned to the connected practices are now beginning to get into their father's shoes. karzai's national security
adviser says he doubts anyone could have done better than karzai in such a fragmented society gets the next president in afghanistan will inherent a broken chain of command, the weak institutions and a variety of local power they prove difficult to heal. all the more so because he will lack the personal connection karzai works hard to cultivate. the question whether the forces from the past will succeed again -- succeed again or whether modernizing the forces will take the country forward this has not been finalized. almost none of the achievements made under karzai appeared irreversible. he lamented. instead afghanistan remains a place stuck between modernity and its own splintered history. which way it will move next is anyone's guess.
so this is -- i told the president about a week after the first round of elections to find a successor for him in april and the feeling at that time as he had done a good job staying neutral. there was a sense of jubilation about 7 million people turned out to vote and karzai had proven his critics wrong. there were a lot of conspiracy theories he would change the constitution and stay in power so in april when i wrote this all of that seemed false into the article went through the print and in the one-month one h period until the article came out, a lot changed. is it to go back to the difficult nature of predicting the legacy in that one-month or that one and a half months until the article came out we had another round of elections because the next round did not
have a winner. and after the runoff there were allegations of karzai meddling in the election and one of the frontrunners alleged that there was a triangle conspiracy. abdul abdullah alleged there was a triangle conspiracy trying to steal the election from him and the triangle is the rival candidate, the president karzai and the election commission. so, a lot changed and i started questioning some of the things i wrote, but i'm glad that most of the questions that i discussed in the article deal with his 12 years of leadership and his stylin his styleof local governd like to add and make a few remarks about that and what sort of legacy he leaves behind. i think at the end of the day the legacy that matters the most is the legacy that is on the ground. the relationship with nato, the
relationship in the united states will matter. what he needs on the ground especially to my generation. if we go back to the sense of euphoria that the ambassador mentioned about 20 of two. there is an enormous responsibility and a mandate to build institutions. even the palace of karzai came to in kabul i mentioned in the caliban days people could take a shortcut through the palace if they were going from one end of the city to another. there were no institutions. shepherds could bring their herds to the palace to graze on the gardens. at the center of power and the taliban was in kandahar.
that is an indication of how we didn't have an institution into the biggest mandate for the president was to build institutions. looking back 12 years later that's been one of his weaknesses. he didn't build institutions the way that he should have. he personalized politics so much that the president as a leader got involved in the very minute local matters and he had a disregard to the chain of command in terms of local governance and always directly involved himself, sort of undermining the mandated that he has for building institutions. so, one of the biggest weaknesses looking back now was that. and when i asked him that question why did he not build institutions he had his reasons. and that reason goes to the two handicaps he had i think over
the past 12 years which really shaped his style of local governance. the first handicap was that in 2002 when he took over the government there was a government that was handed to him. he didn't have a say in choosing any cabinet members, governors, and he local district chiefs so he was put in the helm of the government that he didn't trust and what he did was to develop informal networks and the general mentioned to use for his governance. so, the first handicap was that it wasn't his government. he didn't trust the government. he relied on the informal sources. the second handicap but i think that he developed later towards 2009 was that he started mistrusting the international's and he started believing that his government was in the pocket of the internationals so he
couldn't trust the governors because they were closer to the internationals and they were conspiring against. so these two factors played a major role in why he didn't trust his own institutions and why he didn't put enough effort into building those institutions strong. i will give you one example of what i mean by having a disregard of the chain of command. there is a man who was a former taliban commander, very interesting character. if you look at his history come he basically thought everyone he worked with. he was first with the mujahedin and then he started fighting against his superiors and then he came to the caliban and started fighting. and in around 2008, 2007 when
helmand was in a difficult situation, there was a sort of consensus british troops had made a mess out of helmand and it was quite violent. karzai started experienc experin the government and reached out to the local taliban leader and he tried to turn him and applied him as the district governor. it was an interesting experiment to see if he could, you know, neutralize the insurgency locally but the problem is that karzai directly with end contact with the district chief going around his cabinet level ministry for local governance, going around at the provincial governor and helmand and directly talking to the districts. every time he would come to kabul he would let the governor know, he wouldn't let the cabinet note he would just call the presidents office like send me a card i'm here to see the president. so in a country where building
institutions should have been such a priority, he directly involved himself at such a local level and what happened in the process was undermining that sort of local government chain of command. i will read you a couple of quotes. my interview with the president got a very sort of philosophical answers and one of the cards that was very traditional in its way of talking and in its belief that one of the cabinet ministers told me that when he starts speaking in english he seems as modern as a leader as any out there because his education was in the politics and philosophy and english and when he speaks in english, you don't see the tribal site as much. so, my interview with him was in english and it was a friday which is the day off in afghanistan, he was in a good mood so you got a very philosophical answers.
and i asked him about relying on these informal sources and networks instead of his own government institutions and he said my style of leadership isn't in the sense of the western presence relying on the state institutions and government institutions, that is true. i rely on the government institutions. i relied the very least on government institutions. i was more in the alliance and relying upon the afghan people. all of my decisions and statements were based on the information i received from the people and the country not his own government institutions. and i said doesn't that undermine your mandate to build institutions? he said no to government has to be built up. the government doesn't have to be fake lee admired and kept week. he said it was the realization of the facts of the situation on the ground. the fact of the groun on the gre
afghan government was weak, that it had no capacity or means of movement, that it couldn't provide the president in the country without the information that related to the facts on the ground. that's why he relied on these informal sources of information and networks to run the country. but i think there was a sort of misinformed analysis in his decision to rely on these informal networks and tribal networks in particular. president karzai wrote an essay in the 1980s analyzing how the king used the tribes as a sort of bulwark of stability for the regime. ..
>> relys on these what he thinks ae tribal networks but, in fact, they're a new generation of these local leaders that are difficult to distinguish from warlords because they have guns, they have drug money, and they don't have that legitimacy associated with tribal elders in the past. and i want to, i want to comment on two other things about karzai's legacy over the past 12 years. one was an issue the general referred to of his views as a commander in chief. the perception on the ground
among afghans is that hamid karzai never became a commander in chief. i asked them that question. i asked him that, mr. president, when your soldiers die in the line of duty, you don't stand with them. that is the perception among the people. a few months ago there was an incident in kunar province where 20-something afghan army soldiers were killed. their bodies were brought to kabul at the military hospital. hamid karzai had a trip planned to vir sri lanka that day. he canceled the trip using the death of the soldiers as a pretext, but he remained in his palace politicking, you know, building election coalition rather than attempting the funeral of those soldiers. and i asked him this, said, mr. president, the people believe you never became a commander in chief. and he said, yes, i never became a commander in chief for two reasons. one, that i am an absolute pacifist in my heart. so the contradiction here is that you have a president in
time of war, 12 years of war who is this self-proclaimed absolute pacifist. and the second reason he said is that i didn't believe in this war. this was not a war, this was conspiracy. so it was, it was fascinating to me. and i asked him whether you see it as a serious or as a war, your soldiers die every day. and as a commander in chief, you're expected to at least show appreciation. he said, i do. he pounded, you know, the table. he said i do, that's western propaganda. which is funny to me, because i was a local sitting there asking that question. it wasn't a western journalist. so his views on the war were fascinating to me. the final issue that i would like to, you know, close with is that the perception of hamid be karzai is that he is a
tremendous political tactician in terms of building consensus, in terms of if you go back to 2002 the way he came to power, he did not have a militia, he did not have a massive political network, yet 12 years later he's, you know, the most powerful hand in the country. that show -- powerful man in the country. that shows he has political genius this terms of tactics. but the criticism is hamid karzai was never a visionary leader. and i asked him that question. i said, mr. president, the perception is that you did not have a vision for this country, that you were a great tactician trying to keep the fragile stability together, but you didn't have a picture of where you wanted to see the country, say, ten years from now. and the luxury that president karzai had so rare, no to other leader would have the amount of resources, the amount of international support he had, yet he lacked a vision for the country. when i spoke to those closest to him who worked with him over the
past 12 years, they say he never defined a clear vision that this is where i want to see afghanistan ten years from now, twenty years from now. he had principles. he had principles that he did not compromise on. one of the principles that ambassador eide mentioned was the freedom of press, freedom of expression. he's been good on the issue of women's rights within the context that he has to please these tribal, you know, parts of the country, but at the same time he has to work towards slow progress of sort of institutionalizing safeguards for women. so he has principles, but he didn't have a clear vision in terms of a model in mind that i want to see afghanistan like singapore 10 years from now, 20 years from now, like iran, pakistan or whatever. just not a clear picture. and those closest to him say that if you have a vision and not unly size it -- publicize it, it's not even paint a
picture of it to those closest to you who try to help move the country forward. and i think the question that i asked for the piece in the atlantic was to ask whether it is possible to be a visionary in the circumstances that hamid karzai ruled in. i think the general mentioned that we should see this as sort of a learning experience of looking at a leader has challenges, and i think, to me, that's one of the more fascinating questions. if somebody like hamid karzai is not sure of his physical or political survival every day, especially if you go back to pooh, can he a-- 2002, can he afford to be a visionary? and i went to kandahar to sort of trace the story a little bit in september 2002, on september 5, 2002, just a few months after he had taken power. he was attending his brother's wedding in kandahar, and he got pretty close to being killed
right there. just a few months into his presidency. he was waving at the crowd, and a young man in police uniform started opening fire at him from a very close range. he ducked, the governor of kandahar got a bullet the this his ear -- in his ear who was sitting next to him. and there was this young man, a very big fan of karzai who had heard his name, he jumped on the assassin and wrestled him down and sort of basically saved hamid karzai. so i went to kandahar to trace the young man's story and to ask his family was that sacrifice worth it? when you look back at it 12 years later? this young manmade hamid karzai's 12 years of government possible. was the sacrifice worth it? and the young man's brother had a very emotional answer is and a very candid answer. he said sometimes when i think about it, we have a good house, we have a good family, all we want is our brother back.
you know? the natural answer. but then his -- he said i have a 9-year-old daughter, and he had his second child was asking for a second ice cream right there. they have a bakery, so i was interviewing him at his bakery. he said, but sometimes when i think about it, my girl is in fourth grade, and sometimes when i think about it, if my brother hadn't made that sacrifice in 2002, maybe this wouldn't have been possible. there would have been more chaos, there would have been more bloodshed, and maybe my daughter wouldn't be in fourth grade right now. so it's that mixed legacy. but i think i leave, we ought to ask that question that in the circumstances that hamid karzai ruled in -- a very fragmented society, unsure of his physical and political survival every day -- can a leader afford to be a visionary. >> thank you.
i want to make maybe one comment and ask one question before we open it up. it's fascinating especially to listen to kai and mujib who have both been in kabul recently and asked president karzai these questions directly, we've been asking about his legacy, why weren't you commander in chief, why did you act this way and not another? but i think both of you minimized an issue that i think is especially interesting to this audience and important to the future of afghanistan which is, you know, the relationship with the u.s. and with the rest of the world because afghanistan is still a country that depends a great deal on the resources of the international community, on the willingness to support the ansf in continuing to try to provide security and paying the salaries of the government and so fort. so forth. alan raised this question, but, you know, the question i suppose
i have first, kai, mujib and then maybe a reaction from john is, you know, it seems in the last year or several months president karzai's sort of gone out of his way to be antagonistic and almost petty in his relations marley with the u.s. -- particularly with the u.s. not just the bsa which maybe one could understand is a tactical gambit, but the recognition of the annexation of crimea, these kinds of things seem to be deliberately antagonizing an ally that the next president will need to rely on. and i don't know if either of you have insights on what is his thinking behind that? is there something behind more than a visceral reaction? and then maybe after you two speak, general allen, you'll have something more to say on that. start with you, kai. >> you mentioned the crimea, i discussed that with him.
i don't think i will go into that here. but i think there is now a level of bitterness in him that has increased tremendously over the last couple of years, of course. it stems, i think, there the very early days. and general allen mentioned it, mujib did also, he came in not with his own government, not the government of his choosing. but what was he facing? he was facing a situation where there was a reluctance on the part of the u.s. to try to regulate or reduce the our of the warlords at the time. although there may have been an opportunity, there was a clear reluctance. there was a strong hesitation with regard to starting building afghan institutions. there was very little investment in 2002 and 2003. we lost tremendous time in --
[inaudible] it was from the u.n. as well as the u.s. because the u.s.' attention was already on iraq. the only ones that had a heavy footprint were the warlords who could remain where they were. the man was left in a situation where he had no instruments to project power. that is, that was a start. and i think that problem has been with us all the time. then when the money started to come in and the forces started to come in, what happened? it's almost inevitable that you have civilian casualties, and it's even more inevitable in the context that you do not know where the information or intention that you get from -- intelligence that you get there one person can be part of a family dispute with another. but it's quite clear that when some say he's thousand playing
to -- he's now playing to his own audience as if it's a tactic, it's clear that what we saw this civilian casualtieses, destruction of rot, etc., harmed him in the eyes of his public very, very strongly. not only the u.s., it's not only the u.s. became less popular, but there were protests in kabul against the president. and i remember it was the governor who said if this doesn't stop, then we will start a jihad against the americans. and it was followed by the demonstrations in kabul. and then when the money came in, when the money came in, what did the president see? he saw that the u.s. contracting system and subcontracting and subcontracting, etc., etc., left little in afghanistan. much money was spent on afghanistan, very little was left in afghanistan. and how some of these people
became super rich. and our criticism for him of corruption to be hypocritic. it's not quite right. i'm not sharing that view. they saw it as being-in critic. hypocritic. i remember in the hague when we wanted to address corruption, we said, yes, we will carry out a joint audit, the international community and the afghans, of the hundred that's being spent. and -- [inaudible] said, no, no, this doesn't relate to us, it relates to you. well, it relates very much to us. the special investigator general for afghanistan reconstruction has proven that beyond any doubt. so i must say i think he has reasons for bitterness. i think he is grateful to see everything that has been invested, but as one very
prominent colleague, member of his government said, we should be grateful, but it was spent in an inefficient way. then comes to the coordination. and we have people in the world that knows this much better than i do. when we look -- when i was at the u.n., head of the u.n., we found out that between one-half and one-third of all the money spent in afghanistan, nobody knew where it was going. for what you were, to what area, etc., etc. we didn't have a clue. how can you then coordinate? we kept building institutions that you mentioned, general. once heard of, it was done without the knowledge of the afghan government. how can you then build institutions? there had to be a partnership between the two that simply was not there. ask finally -- and finally, i must say the bitterness that is there today, i think we have in
the beginning the after begans did not have -- afghans did not have think institutions, and they were spoon feeding from the international community. and as one member of government said, you know, you don't bite the hand that feeds you. much was accepted at the time. and then came a different situation. the afghans felt that thousand thousand -- now we're strong enough to say what we think about this, and the birtherness increased -- bitterness increased, and you saw the reaction that you have from karzai. and even one of those who has spent the longest time in, abroad, and you came back as member of the government said, look, we really had to tolerate a lot at that time that we should not have tolerated. and again, as he says, i cannot call them because he'll be -- [inaudible] in a few weeks from now. he said the americans found it
very difficult to distinguish between afghanistan as a sovereign country and afghanistan as enemier the to have. enemy territory. and i think there's something true this that. we did not manage, the international community, to adapt from a situation where afghanistan was without institutions, relying completely on the international community, to a situation where it had institutions and where we had to demonstrate that they should thousand really be this control. -- they should now really be in control. but we are very reluctant to, in fact, implement it, i'm afraid. so i think much of the bitterness today when he also looks back at the 13 years as we do, hutch of his bitterness -- much of his bitterness can be
understood. as mujib said, he disregarded the chain of command. put at the head of a government he didn't trust. let me also say with regard to the informal networks, many of the people who came in and that we believe were among the best members of government didn't know much about afghanistan. they had been out for 20, 25 years. so no wonder why he would pick up the phone or bring me or mujib, others to meeting and said thousand -- now you really hear what the afghans think. those were the ones he trusted, the people he met during the friday meetings or dug -- during his much too infrequent visits to the provinces. but being called the mayor of kabul as we used to say in criticizing him is to a large
extent a result of the fact that we did not, in the beginning, start building an afghan army immediately. we did not allow isaf to go outside of kabul, and we did not build the civilian institutions we could use to project power. so we made him also the mayor of kabul in many ways. >> mujib? >> i think it's not just -- i'm convinced now that it's not tactical antagonism, it's more of a deeper pain that he feels. it may have been tactical at times, but so when i framed hi interview to him, he didn't know me, he didn't trust me, so he asked me for lunch first. so we had lunch, and i explained to him what i was trying to do, that i wanted to write this story of afghan, as start sort of a product of your 13 years. and i explained to him that i am entirely focusing on domestic
politics and local governance which means there'll be no questions about your relationship to the u.s. but every couple minutes somehow he would drag the u.s. into it. and in very sort of deeply sort of heart-felt anger. so i don't think it is tactical antagonism. and the ambassador mentioned some of the sources for such feeling, some of the reasons for such feeling. i think he feels that, to me, there's this hi pock arely city -- hypocrisy. he perceives an american hypocrisy to push him on certain issues and then say the warlords. some of the warlords that the americans allied with at the beginning of this war, then a couple years later they would pressure hamid karzai not to side with the same warlords whether it was general dostem, these two were the biggest
allies to america when they first came into afghanistan, but years later when karzai was trying to build a coalition, if you read the wikileaks, how much pressure there was from the americans not to side with them. so that hypocrisy comes clear to him, that there is a two-facedness to the american policy. and he told me a -- i mention a episode in the article. there's a meeting between general ibzed and president karzai, and karzai complained to the general that you shouldn't -- why are you helping some of these warlords who are causing me trouble? and the response from the general is pretty interesting. he says, well, they're one of us just like you're one of us. we're not going to be green on green. and it was a term that karzai heard for the first time, a term that after the insider attacks would become very common. but at the time it was a term
that karzai heard for the first time, and the general sort of confirmed this anecdote he remembered saying something like that to karzai. so if you're karzai back in 2007, 2008, you are not putting all this anger publicly. yet you're expressing it to your partners in private. but you're not seeing any actions on it. as the general said, the allies are either deaf or not doing enough. and if, part of it is natural, also, this perception of hypocrisy that karzai had. if somebody is in power for 12 years or so, on the other side of partnership there's a change of administration. and, obviously, that comes a change of policy. but one partner is the same guy x he perceives that change z -- and he perceives that change as hypocrisy rather than just a natural change. but there were episodes in private that kept triggering this anger deeper. so i'm convinced that it's no longer tactical antagonism. but i think it also is, it also
goes back to what the general said, that he knows the united states far better than the united states or some of the u.s. officials have known him. and if -- and i think it proves a point in the bsa negotiations that the u.s. threatened with a zero option that if you don't sign this, we're going to pull out all troops. yet several months later we see that that hasn't happened. so he knows how far to push the u.s. maybe sometimes he push the u.s., he pushes u.s. too far, and it's the u.s.' patience and not, and not sort of jeopardizing 12 years, because they know that president karzai will be gone pretty soon. but at the same time, i think tactically we need to give karzai credit that he knows how far to push them, and he's done that in the issue and the funding, military funding of the tush of, sort of -- touch or sort of u.s. presidents. >> so, general, why were we so
deaf? you mentioned at the beginning of your talk how responsible or what share of the responsibility do we also have for where we are right now? >> well, i'm not sure i want to engage in an exercise of is self-flagellation here, but we didn't listen to him initially. and and i think we didn't listen to him because in so many ways we felt we had the answer. i think in so many ways we felt that the exigencies of the operational environment drove us to make decisions that we would perhaps under other circumstances might have been willing to listen more closely. a couple things, he and i had a couple conversations about the issue of sovereignty, and i think both mujib and the ambassador hit it very clearly, and it's a really important point.
as time went on and we were very clearly facing the end of the large scale international involvement in afghanistan, i think the president rightly -- president karzai -- rightly saw that one of the most important things he could deliver to the afghans was a is sense of their sovereignty, a sense of their citizenship, a sense that they were as a people bigger than their perhaps tribal or ethnic origins. and i told him on a number of occasions that i did not feel any differently about that than he did and that it was, in fact, one of my principal goals and objectives, to do all i could, ultimately, for the afghan national security forces to be in the lead in its entirety. in the context of creating a stable and safe and peaceful afghanistan. but i also told him on a thurm
of occasions -- number of occasions, and this is a conversation i've actually had this a couple places around the world, is that sovereignty isn't something that exists apart from the inherent responsibility of the people seeking sovereignty to act responsibly. so sovereignty demands responsibility. and to be able to take responsibility for your actions and your words and your vision such as of it may exist -- and i actually think he was more visionary than perhaps some folks had given him credit for -- it also requires capacity. and so the frustration that we had often this our conversation -- in our conversations was, you know, mr. president be, i don't, i absolutely do not disagree with you on any of these issues with respect to your ambitions on sovereignty. but in order for you to be truly sovereign, you have to be able to take responsibility for the actions of the system of the judiciary or the actions of the finance ministry or the actions
of elements within the ministry of interior. but you can't do that unless you have capacity. and that's what we were all trying to partner to do. and if you don't like our capacity building, tell us. he frequently told me issues he didn't like. we worked very hard to try to lower civilian casualties and, frankly, we were pretty successful at that. we worked very hard at, ultimately, getting after the business of war profiteering and corruption associated with this. we created, ultimately, the combined joint interagency task force afghanistan which is where we brought all the countercorruption, all the contracting elements, all the spending elements, all the threat finance elements, we brought it all together where it should have been from the very beginning. we were not properly organized. that's the first reflection that i would give you. if we were to do this again, we would have to be properly organized in the context of understanding organized criminality in the environment
in which we're going to operate, understanding it clearly and then being organized ourselves once we understand it and can see it to insure that we don't contribute to it or don't exacerbate it in the course of the natural development, capacity building and reconstruction that would have to occur. and i'm afraid we did. and be i'm afraid that we came to the conclusion tar too late in the process that we -- far too late in the process that we needed to be organized this a task force about corruption and the denial of funds to the enemy in a manner almost as important as a maneuver task force would be. what was going to win the war, ultimately, for the afghans was less about defeating the taliban than it was eliminating the existential threat which i still believe was corruption, not the taliban. and he was right. and be we probably should have organized in that very concentrated manner much earlier
in the process. we also didn't, i think -- and some respects he could have helped us more in this -- didn't see the enemy truly for what it was. and the enemy in afghanistan wasn't just the taliban. the enemy in afghanistan was a collective threat of organized criminality, what we call criminal patronage networks, for whom the taliban frequently worked actually. the organized criminality, the taliban elements of what we call the ideological insurgency, fueled then by the narcotics enterprise. and we went to war in afghanistan very well organized to get after the insurgency. but not well organized in a law enforcement sense to help the after began -- hold afghans hold the organized criminality. and i had no authorities to go after the drug lords and the drug enterprise. if we had had that consolidated authority from the beginning, we could have been striking at
those three legs of this enemy triangle from the very beginning. another reflection which i think is really important for us to understand. and in subnational governance it was an issue, again. the writ of kabul needed to be extended to the people on the ground, and i won't name the names of the afghan commanders, but this goes back to the unwillingness of the president, ultimately, to embrace the really vital role of being the commander in chief, to being the moral figurehead to whom his leaders in the field who were shedding their blood every single day needed to be, needed to be oriented as a moral compass. and a thurm -- and a number of those core commanders, two-stars, and, again, i won't mention their names, but i've spent most of my time with them in the last six months. they could be two-star armies in
anybody's army, and i'd welcome them in my marine corps, frankly. they took risks with everybody. but here was their ons ovation, and their observation was we are fighting and dying in large numbers to clear a piece of ground of the criminality of the taliban, and when the people finally can lift their heads up, can finally ultimately seek a better life for themselves, there's no reasons of the government there. there's no presence of the government there. we had this conversation in the palace on a number of occasions. i even suggested your army, not mine, your army has cleared large numbers, large areas of substantial population numbers. let's take those areas and seek to insert into those areas your elements of governance at the district level or at the provincial level which represent your insertion of the presence of governance from kabul onto the ground to give these people a sense that kabul is in their
lives. my question would be how often is this minister out of kabul and down in kandahar or in mihm was or in farah province, and the answer is not very often. and so there's a lot of -- the word blame is not the right word -- there's a lot of responsibility for how we could have done this better. this is not something that either country has done on a regular basis. but i'll tell you now, the things that i believe we have learned about spending and contracting and countering corruption, the things that we have learned about capacity building, the inherent formula which i said before which is if you want to be sovereign, you've got to be willing to take responsibility, and you can't take responsibility unless you have the capacity. that needs to be driving our thinking on how we would prepare a country that was struggling from being a conflict-ridden society to a developing society to a developed society. and you can't get there unless you have capacity and you can
take responsibility and truly be sovereign. >> thank you very much. then we have microphones, i think, on both sides of the aisle. we'll start over there with you, bill. and then just say who you are, the usual protocol, and let's try to keep the answers also succinct so we can get as many questions as we can in the next half hour. and the questions succinct too. >> bill with s. i.t. yeah, very rich presentation and i think quite balanced on the positive and negative. one question, i think, is do you feel president karzai evolved during the 13 years in line with what i agree with the panelists were some major changes that occurred? and has he evolved during the recent period of transition? the bsa has already come up as an ample, but this my -- example, but in my view, the idea that the u.s. does not have a zero option, i think the may 27th announcement was a zero option this 2016.
and it's going to be very hard to reverse that. so the question is, more generally, did he involve or was he stuck in the kind of tribal mentality which i think mujib has already said actually changed a lot during the war? second question, just on corruption and, i agree, there's plenty of responsibility to go around. but the single biggest picture, scandal, kabul bank, i think it does not involve a enemy of aid money. it was afghans' own money that was stolen and misused. so i think, you know, there needs to be a perspective. and certainly, i think, on his side more could have been done. and finally but related to that issue of sovereignty, and i think this came up very well from the general, but more to ask why he didn't build sovereignty. you know, the goth administrative machinery, that's an aspect of sovereignty which is obvious. and then what does a sovereign government do? it raises money. very little evidence that he paid any attention to mobilizing
more domestic revenues for the afghan government or the budget process or things like that. and it's the armed forces, and that's already been said. so, you know, was his use of sovereignty some empty term of being respect for him personally? i mean, because we though what sovereignty means, and this already came up. but what does it mean when he asks for sovereignty? is it anything more than just personal respect for him? >> yeah. three easy questions. [laughter] >> in six parts. >> you all want to take a -- anybody want to volunteer for the first answer to any of them? >> i would just, a brief remark on whether he evolved or not. i think, i think he evolved towards extreme consensus politics. if there was, if you ask him now
now -- and i think voa did in their recent interviews -- about some of the choices he head, especially about market economy, he said if he could go back, he wouldn't have agreed to it. it's just, if you, the you look at his sort of trajectory of thinking, i think it evolved towards the extreme of consensus. and it relates to the issue of corruption as well. okay, first fife, six years, first ten years you didn't have the capacity to go after breeders in your elite. now you have the government, you have the institutions for it. yet every time there's a case of corruption raised, it is dealt with politically rather than through the rule of law. so in my view, he involved towards the extreme -- he evolved towards the extreme of consensus politics, towards supporting his own institutions. he thinks he built institutions. but if you look at -- to me, until 2009 it was justified that
he would do consensus politics. i think after the election of 2009 he was the most powerful hand in the country. he could have spent the last five years of his administration building institutions and leaving behind strong institutions, and one way to do that would be to go after corruption of the elite and deal with them through your institutions. but he continued to deal with it through political consensus. >> did you have a -- >> on the kabul -- [inaudible] i don't have any objections to what you're saying. and there's no doubt that there has been a toleration of corruption that is unaccept b. unacceptable. can i add to that one thing? in otherin order to systematicao after corruption, you need a functioning rule of law system. it's just about the host difficult thing to build. you can build an army, you can
even build a police. but to build a rule of law system that funks is tremendously -- that functions is tremendously difficult. again, very expensive, in fact. and i think we never really got to that in a decent way. the u.s., i think, had tour different programs -- four different programs, uncoordinated. but we never really got into it. and i think during this lead neigh/division of responsibilities in the early days where the italians had the judiciary, not much was done, and we lost time. then comes -- [inaudible] in that kind of security environment, an environment of organized crime you dare to go after -- [inaudible] i'll give you one example from europe. there's a place called kosovo as you know, huh? this is 1.7% the size of afghanistan.
and where everybody can read and write, well regulated. but the courts never dare to go after the corruption cases for fear of, for fear of revenge. and there were never any witnesses who dared to stand up. so it's not an uncommon phenomenon when it comes to sovereignty. is it more than karzai himself? i think it's a question of respect for the country and for building institutions. and i do come back to what i said originally. i do not think that we have taken institution building seriously. we have spent a lot of money into capacity building, most assessment of that capacity building as you know better than i do says that it hasn't worked. and, in fact, sometimes it even has become an obstacle to building institutions.
and then finally in 2008-2009 we managed to get in place a real civil service institute that was going to bring us thousands of people who could then go to their districts and so on. what happens? the donors don't finance it. they do finance -- i discovered now in may -- they do finance a young international agency or a big western country that's been given this contract, a contractor from the same country and financed by foreigners to be in the ministry, and this person earns $22,000er month. for doing what? writing reports. capacity substitution, not capacity building. that has been our expertise. and i do understand that he is furious about it, because we have -- yes, we have built
institutions that are much stronger than they were before, but they could have been much stronger than they are. can i just mention one other example. when, and i mentioned it to shall be before. i was sitting in my office march 2009 in kabul. i got a message on my e-mail. it was from richard barter, then-assistant secretary of state for the region. and he wrote to me, kai, we will soon have a big afghan conference this the hague, and you will be asked to chair it, and ban ki-moon will be there. i thought, that's nice to wash me in advance. [laughter] -- warn me in advance. 45 minutes later, associated press carried the story from brussels where hillary clinton had announced that there would be a big conference in the hague in the end of march, ban ki-moon would be there. he even mentioned that
ambassador eide would go-chair it. so i was puzzled, and i called the foreign minister, and i said, my friend, why haven't you told me about this conference? he said, which conference. >> what are you talking about? i said, i'll check with the president. so -- [inaudible] called the president, and the president called back and said what's this conference you're talking about? a conference about his country. and he wasn't even informed. the debate about the surge, so and so many troops. was he involved? or was he informed afterwards? he was informed afterwards. about a massive increase of forces on his territory. that's what sovereignty's about, consultation, decision making ask not only -- and not only the vanity of one individual. >> quick comment, general allen? >> i think that's very well put. >> well, i will put one point on
the capacity building. i think the overall absence of -- it's not going to happen, but the absence of a coordinating authority, the u.n. tried very hard, others tried very hard, but the absence of an overall coordinating authority to bring together all the international efforts really was, created a great difficulty, i think, ultimately for us and for afghanistan. there is a lot that was built in afghanistan with no tail to it, with no logistics tail. which will, in the not too distant future, will require the operations and maintenance of these build beings and infrastructure -- buildings and infrastructure facilities that afghanistan can't afford, afghanistan didn't have the money. -- doesn't have the money. and i really had a sense of this in the period of time of the insider attacks where i, sadly, had a couple of my officers
killed in the ministry of interior. and i pulled all of my people out of the ministry, in fact, all the isaf people out of the ministries until such time as we had a better feel for how badly this was going on and how far it might descend. what i didn't realize because i'd never gone from office to office inside the ministry of interior were just how many international presences -- that's plural -- how much of an international presence was in that building until they all came running out when we pulled the isaf troops out. and they had nothing to do with isaf. they were individual, national contributions. so consequently, you know, sometimes as the ambassador said it worked against us. there was nearly fratricide in some respects because we'd have a country earnestly trying to do the very best it could in investing people and money in an outcome that isaf might have
been working or another element within the u.n. or an element within nato. and we worked against each other. so frequently we were not building the kind of capacity we wanted to, and that's what the president often honed this on, this absence of a coherent land for capacity building. you could point to individual moments of brightness and moments of capability that emerged from it, but that's what he pointed to very frequently when he was frustrated with the international community on capacity building. >> all right, thank you very much. usip and also the panel for the insight, i am from the voice of america's afghanistan service. i have a question for ambassador eide in regard to his remarks about karzai being the consensus builder. afghanistan less than two weeks ago was on the brink of a civil war in establishment of a parallel government. and it took the u.s.
intervention and john kerry's personal visit to avert the election crisis. do you see, do you think karzai had the ability and the skills and the power to avert that crisis? and for mujib mashal, i had a question. you said that karzai thinks democracy and accepts democracy and women's rights and political participation at two of his principles, while at the same time the president has kept afghanistan's first lady hidden from the eyes of the world for the most part. do you think he fears thatst going to ignite -- that it's going to ignite into protests and reactions from the tribal leaders in the conservative sections of the society? >> want to start, kai? >> john kerry's visit, i will answer in the following way:
best solution would have been to the afghans could have solved this themselves. clearly, in his immigration speech in 2009 karzai said i want to afghannize the election process. and that was after the interference trying, in fact, to unseat him at the time. now that didn't work, that didn't work. and, therefore, i believe the visit by john kerry. i admire and respect the fact that he went there, sat down and came to what, for me, is the only obvious solution at least when it comes to the counting. if you disagree on how much to count, count it all, hmm? but i would say kerry's hands-on diplomacy in this respect is
admirable. it's sometimes criticized, but i think it's admirable. this 2009 when -- in 2009 when he came and we had a problem with the second round, to have president karzai accept the second round, he also played an extremely constructive role. i spent much of those three days with him. and afterwards karzai, i remember, said john kerry is the hearn politician that i trust -- the american politician that i trust the most. nobody was better placed. and through that answer i have half answered your question but avoided part of it. [laughter] >> mujib? >> i think the question of the first lady is kind of, has kind of intrigued me for a long time also. her sort of absence in the public sphere. if we go back to 2002, 2003,
there are some interviews of her with the local media and international media which shows that at least back then president karzai wasn't against her speaking out or being likely involved. being publicly involved. and she had said she wanted to be sort of involved in health care for women and education, those issues. what i though from her v. now is that she -- there her involvement now is that she does meet people, but she is not publicly involved. which is unfortunate. i think she's a very well educated woman, she's a medical doctor, and one thing that afghanistan has lacked has been female role models after sort of a long blackout on women in society. especially after 2002. so the morale was pretty low for women to get back involved in the public sphere. so she could have been a great
role model with her education, with her involvement. it's unfortunate that it hasn't happened. i don't have a clear answer, but i agree with you that it probably is being sensitive to the tribal realities and being sensitive to history. in the early part of the 20th century, we had rulers who brought, who involved their wives in public politics. it didn't go so well. that was one of the reasons of sort of coups against them, social coups at least. so i think he's sensitive to that. and because he's a tribal person or he rules in a tribal manner, i think that is a factor that plays in her absence. but at the same time, what intrigues me was how she was first involved and thousand she's not. i really don't have an answer to that. >> i think there's a question in the back. >> good morning.
i'm a consultant. it's a pleasure to be here. i have a couple of questions for the haaser and also for the -- for the ambassador and also for the general. general, you are a real american hero, and there's enormous respect in afghanistan for you. i'm in afghanistan at least once a week, and even president karzai has a lot of respect for you. he told me earnly that you were -- personally that you were the one, you fixed the broken diplomatic relations between afghanistan and the united states. and also wanted to give you credit for decreasing the civilian casualties this afghanistan. >> thank you, sir. >> the question i would have if for you is afghans are really bothered by daily shelling of pakistan think forces. -- pakistani forces on ian province, kunar, of afghanistan.
and that's happening under watch of the nato, more than 100,000 nato soldiers being there. i wanted the know your perspective, and i'm sure that you had meetings with your counterpart in pakistan, what was their response. and also, of course, the flow of the terrorists including al-qaeda, isi, pakistani, afghanistan taliban. they've been selling the american embassy, the isaf headquarters most of the time i was there when they were doing that. and how come we were not as american superpower, we were not able to tell pakistani to slow down? that's one question. the other one is for ambassador. ambassador, people love your book. it's a great book. and, again, president karzai told me, he said in 2009-not, it was not because of -- if it was not because of ambassador kai
eide, he would have been insane because, you know, your assistant, mr. peter -- [inaudible] and also holbrooke, could you tell us a little bit about that? what was the background? and karzai basically said, you know, what made karzai the karzai of today and not the karzai of 2008. it was just you, holbrooke and also your assistant. and, of course, you were the one you were trying to just bring some peace. karzai was very well managed before 2008 by george bush administration. he was -- [inaudible] and we even call him a hero, the best president, the best this and that around the world. and all of a sudden he became a zero. and the reason he told me, i asked him what happened, he says because i don't get respect from this administration. and that comes back to
sovereignty. e took a group of google and youtube to karzai, and he was so impressive. and he said, my god, those americans are such nice people. this is why american diplomats don't behave like google and youtube. [laughter] >> get rid of that alan guy. go ahead, general. >> the border with pakistan is a very, very difficult piece of terrain. some of the, either the federally-administered tribal areas or the provinces on the eastern side of that frontier are very difficult. i'm going to say something about the border shelling, and i want to be very, very clear about what i'm going to say because i do not want to appear to be diminishing the importance of dealing with it. and i know that my successor,
joe dunford, has spent a great deal of time working between afghanistan and pakistan in an attempt to deal with this. part of the shelling was a reality and some of the shelling was not. there were reports of thousands of rockets and artillery rounds coming across the border. it was creating a real panic, and at one point i got one of my helicopters, and the ministry of defense, minister of defense, minister of interior, the national -- the director general of nds and one of the leading members of the articlement, we got in the bird, and we flew to kunar where we met with the border troops, border forces. and then we flew over the villages that had been so badly shelled according to reporting. and sound that there was -- found that there was no shelling at all. there was no effect of shelling at all in these villages, no
shell craters, no dead animals that we had been reported on and so on. but that didn't mean there wasn't shelling. what we had to do was to understand the problem, and that was my point, ultimately, back to kabul, back to the security forces and back to the legislature, the parliament, was to make sure we clearly understood the problem. because what we were doing was creating a crisis for ourselves in many respects. the first was that the border trace are -- in case you didn't know it -- actually follows four different border traces. would have the durand line which i never mentioned in public in the palace for fear of the response that would get, you had the border trace that afghanistan recognizes, you have the border trace that pakistan recognizes, and then you have the soviet era border trace. and none of those are the same. they all go back and forth. and consequently, pakistan -- no
excuses being made for pakistan here -- subsequently or consequently, pakistan frequently shelled areas they believed were within the border trace, and the rounds were landing on afghans. and afghans could prove that their border trace included them, and pakistan was shelling sovereign afghan territory. we worked very hard with both sides to try to create measures whereby if the pakistanis saw ttp elements across the border, we would have the right of first refusal; we being isaf working in close conjunction with afghan forces would go up and get after some of these forces. bad reporting, bad intelligence on both sides made it much more difficult in really tough terrain to be able to solve this problem. but i think in many respects while that was a major issue before and it's still anish if a single round comes flying out of pakistan and lands in afghanistan, it is a serious
issue. i believe much has been done to try to solve that. to the point of cross-border movement of terror itselfs and insurgent elements -- terrorists and insurgent elements, we worked very hard to create an environment whereby if we could get act stand to take action d get pakistan to take action, we could solve a lot of the problems in the eastern five provinces to include kabul of afghanistan. ..